Taslima is not under house arrest, says Pranab Mukherjee

December 22nd, 2007 - 8:11 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, Dec.22 (ANI):External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday denied that controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen was under house arrest.
Asked by reporters about the possible restrictions on Taslima’s return to Kolkata from Delhi where she was presently lodged at an undisclosed location, Mukherjee said, ”whether she will come to Kolkata or go to Chennai. She is not under house arrest.”
The government’s policy was to make all appropriate arrangements for the safe and secure stay of a guest, he said.
Mukherjee’s comment came two days after Nasreen said that she had been informed by government officials that she would not be allowed to return to Kolkata for now.
Asked what advice had been given to her by the Centre, he said, ”We have communicated to her that she can stay in the country as long as she wants, which is our rule here.”
Stating that he had already made a statement in Parliament on the matter, he said, ”The government’s policy is that we never send a guest. If any guest wants to stay, we make all arrangements for it. I had said at the same time that our guest should not do anything that may hurt the sentiments of any segment of the population in the country.”
Mukherjee’s comment came hours after Nasreen had decided to put the writing of her next novel on hold. The writer has asked her publishers to cancel the publication of the sixth part of her autobiography. She has not been writing for the last two months. The book was to be released during the Kolkata Book Fair in January. Taslima has said she will not be able to meet the deadline, as she is finding it difficult to concentrate on her writing. Taslima’s supporters organised a rally in Kolkata today to protest against the Centre’s ultimatum to keep her in Delhi. Ironically, since Taslima asked her publishers to delete the objectionable portions of her novel, Dwikhondito (Split in Two), the sale of the book has picked up. It has already sold 5,000 copies in less than a month.
Following the Centre’s directive, Taslima’s publishers and the Publishers and Book Sellers Guild are not sure whether her novels can feature at the Kolkata Book Fair. Since 2000, Taslima has been a regular at the Kolkata Book Fair. However, the Kolkata book fair in January will only see a copy of her poems and her past books, which are all in Bengali. A book of poems by Taslima Nasreen called Tui Nishiddho, Tui Kotha Koish Na (You Shut Up, You Dont Speak) will be released at the Kolkata Book Fair. The writer, who has been virtually on the run since November when she was forced to leave Kolkata following violent protests by radical Muslims demanding her ouster from India.
After the unprecedented violence in Kolkata by a section of Muslims, the 45-year-old writer was shifted to Jaipur on November 22, and then to New Delhi and under tight security.(ANI)

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